Monday, September 26, 2011
Waiting on the test results
There are only a few new developments with Jacob. He still is not answering to his name at all. He is eating some more textures and making better eye contact, though. He seems to be trying to play with people more and has developed quite the temper. He also seems to be stimming a lot more.
Stimming is so strange to me. Its hard to get used to seeing Jacob flapping or scratching his hands on everything, arching his back, pushing his head against things, biting me when he is excited or anxious, rolling his eyes into the back of his head and, most recently, standing on his head. He does it all day long. ECI says that he is doing it either because he likes the sensation of being upside down or because he can put a lot of pressure on his head that way. The sensation helps him to organize himself. The therapist suggest I find a hat or beanie that is really tight and see if that helps. Therapists, parents, and doctors have mixed feelings about stimming. Its publicly awkward, they need to do it to relax, yet if they do it too much they aren't learning anything and in classroom settings it can be very distracting to other children. So how do you decide how much is too much and what to do to help them feel better? I noticed a child that was autistic in a classroom setting a while back. He was having a hard time. Its so disheartening. He could't focus or follow directions, his classmates couldn't stop staring, and the teachers didn't have the resources to help him. Do you tell the parents that their kids are too disruptive to participate? Do you let the teachers get stressed out every week and keep the kids in the class? My heart aches about it. In fact, I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. I think about my Jakey and all the other kids with autism and the difficulties they face and the hardships their parents go through trying to get them involved in community activities. Autism effects 1 in 110 kids. That is a huge number. I wonder why there aren't more resources for these kids. I have decided to pray specifically for areas of support within the local churches. Two of the therapists that my son sees told me that 95% of their clients with special needs children do not attend church because churches do not offer classes for special needs kids. Parents of kids with diabetes, hemophilia, mental retardation, autism, physical disabilities, etc need special childcare workers to watch their kids. These parents need to have a church family, being loved on, and need to be hearing the Word. These parents need support and the freedom to worship where they can be fully attentive and not fearing for their child's safety. I know that every church wants to offer these services, but may not have the ability or funding or resources. I am going to try and help where I can within our childhood ministries. Won't you ask your preacher or childcare director to see if anything can be done to accommodate special needs families? I asked the director of childhood ministries in our church about it and now she is trying to implement a coaching program. This is a volunteer who can follow a child into their class and care for them as needed. While this is great for kids with mild disabilities, its not enough for others. Hopefully one day we can even have a classroom to accommodate the more severe special needs children. What an awesome thing that would be to offer to local families. If you know how to work with special needs kids I encourage you to volunteer at your church. Imagine the life change you could make in the lives of those families for just an hour and half of service. Our Jacob doesn't need this kind of care yet, I don't know if he ever will, but I am so thankful that there may be something in place if he does.